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Global whale warning -vote buying is as lethal as

Auckland, Greenpeace activists in 14 countries around the world are today issuing an Urgent Whale Warning.

Greenpeace oceans campaigner, Sarah Duthie says a return to full-scale commercial whaling is imminent if Japanese government “vote buying” is allowed to continue.

“This is a whale warning to the world,” she says, speaking from the Greenpeace ship MV Arctic Sunrise docked in Melbourne after seven weeks protesting Antarctic whaling. “We have witnessed first hand the whalers' dirty work in Antarctica but Japanese government vote buying is as lethal as any harpoon.”

Although a Japanese official has admitted using fisheries aid to buy support for whaling (1), thereby corrupting the International Whaling Commission (IWC), only New Zealand has publicly condemned the Japanese government for their underhand tactics.

Ten nations or territories have already received more than $NZ490 million in aid and nine of them have voted with Japan on every occasion (2). If vote buying continues the Japanese government could achieve a majority at the next IWC in May and begin the process of overturning the ban on whaling next year (3).

In today’s global protests Greenpeace calls on governments to join New Zealand and publicly denounce the Japanese government for vote buying. Across the world signatures will be collected, and fax and email facilities set up so people can join the Greenpeace Global Whales Action Team and urge their foreign ministers to act.

“Commercial whaling has never been sustainable and can never be sustainable," Duthie says. "Governments must follow New Zealand’s lead and denounce vote buying and show they are not prepared to sell out whales.”

“If vote buying isn’t stopped the Japanese Government could wipe out the result of 30 years work to protect the whales,” said Yuko Hirono, Greenpeace oceans campaigner. “Governments must denounce vote buying and show that they are not prepared to sell- out the whales.”

Auckland: 8:30-10:30. Floating video screen will move around Princes Wharf and the Viaduct Basin showing footage from the MV Arctic Sunrise dogging the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.

For more information contact:

MV Arctic Sunrise - Greenpeace oceans campaigner: Sarah Duthie (English language) or Yuko Hirono (Japanese) on mobile 0438 740 454.

Greenpeace oceans campaigner Pia Mancia on 021 927 301 or communications officer Brendan Lynch 021 790 817.

Footage and stills available.
Editors' Notes:

Activities will take place in: Australia, Fiji, Austria, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, US.

1. In an interview with ABC TV, Australia, at the time of the 2001 IWC meeting, Mr. Komatsu a senior member of the Japanese delegation admitted that Japan had to use the “tools of diplomatic communications and promises of overseas development aid to influence members of the International Whaling Commission". Last week Greenpeace released figures showing the Japanese government has already spent more than $US320 million buying a return to commercial whaling. In 2001 alone more than $US47 million was spent on fisheries aid grants to six countries. The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Lester Bird, admitted the money was in return for voting with Japan on whaling issues. The Caribbean News Agency, CANA, 16 July 2001, reported him saying: "So long as the whales are not an endangered species, I don't see any reason why if we are able to support the Japanese, and the quid pro quo is that they are going to give us some assistance, I am not going to be a hypocrite; that is part of why we do so."

2. The Fisheries Agency of Japan now enjoys the support of ten nations whose votes are paid for: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Guinea, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Solomon Island, Panama and Morocco. All of these, except Morocco, vote with Japan on every issue.

3.The votes of these countries, combined with those of nations like China, Korea, Norway and Russia, which often vote with Japan for their own reasons mean that the Fisheries Agency is within 3 or 4 votes of having a majority in the IWC.

Members of the Global Whales Action Team (G-WAT) receive regular e-mail updates on the campaign as well as action alerts. Visit the website below to join.

For an account of the MV Arctic Sunrise campaign in Antarctica and

details of G-WAT see: { HYPERLINK }

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